We’ve reached mid-winter and this means that the long awaited snowboard or ski holiday that’s been brightly marked in our calendars since the summer months is finally in sight. It’s the spark in our dark evenings; it’s what gives sense to the winter months.
In a time when there is a temptation to hibernate, to lock out the cold and emerge lethargic and rusty in the spring, snow holidays give us a reason to play outside every day for a week.
Having spent our hard earned pennies on a scenic week amongst the snow-capped peaks, some investment in new equipment, travelling for several hours, and a lot of planning upfront means that we all want to get the most out of holidays like this.
“Snow holidays give us a reason to play outside every day for a week”
That’s why we’ve gathered some essential reminders that will help you prepare and make the most out of your week in the mountains. Get ready to embrace the world where cold is good, outdoors is the rule, and being active all day long doesn’t feel like doing exercise.
First day out on the slopes, a fresh crisp under your boots, the sun blissfully blinding you – this is the moment you’ve been counting down to. But you will ache, oh yes you will. You did last time. Especially those first few days. You don’t remember, right?
A great way of preparing yourself physically for an active holiday is by doing some exercise now, which will give you less cramped muscles and plenty more enjoyment on the slopes.
“…On that day of fresh powder you will not regret any of it”
Here are some simple, at-home exercises to get you slope-ready:
If you have a bit more time, then hit the gym for some additional strength work that will further limit the chance of injury and help keep you out on the slopes for longer. Exercises include:
This can sound like a lot of effort for a break away, but this prep work will make you feel on top of your game and on that day of fresh powder you will not regret any of it.
Your bruises have faded and your strains have healed by now, but remember last time, at the end of the holiday, thinking that a spine protector could be a worthy investment and a confidence boost for taking your riding to the next level? And what about those bumps and bruises suggesting crash pants to avoid future sore spots?
“Don’t wait to buy until you think you need it, buy it before you need it.”
A spine protector can prevent serious back injury if you’re going for that big trick. Remember the golden rule about protective gear: don’t wait to buy until you think you need it, buy it before you need it.
Crash pants are just a no-brainer. Not only does it protect the hips and coccyx from holiday ending injuries, they also add some much needed warmth. They also don’t just prevent severe injuries. Because even a collection of well-placed bruises will make you think twice about trying that trick again. Prevent before you regret.
If you’re planning on stretching your limits, get yourself the right gear. You'll be safer and definitely feel more confident. The right kit means you don’t have to hold back when playing around or trying new things.
Our tried and tested:
It will be cold. No surprises there. Of course, sometimes it'll be warmer in April, but most of the time it's proper freezing. When you’re exercising, you get hot and sweaty under that outer layer. Remember trying to get it right? Layering up and stripping off over and over after the first few descents?
It really is worth splashing out on a wicking thermal layer and a breathable outer layer to stop the faff. You'll never buy it when you get back from your holiday, it never seems worth it, so know that you were wishing for it last time and get it now so you can face whatever weather conditions Mother Nature serves you.
A week in the mountains can result in a heavier price tag than you’d hoped for, so how do you avoid regrets afterwards? Everything up top is a little more expensive, and we’re not really taking about kit (there are some bargains to be had). The real essentials like food and drink tend to have a mark up.
Bring snacks for your pockets and for when you're back. We suggest a tub of your favourite Nesquick flavour for a quick post-boarding milkshake that will give you a much needed protein boost to aid muscle recovery. Buy some energy bars or individually wrapped sweets like chocolate limes or Cadburys chocolate eclairs upfront to help you bridge meals. Bring hand or toe warmers if you struggle to keep warm. And of course, bring beer. Not least because on location choice will be limited.
For more savings or as a practical hack, consider preparing food at home that you can heat up in your chalet. This little bit of planning can make the difference and free up your budget for some of the essentials we mentioned earlier.
How many times have you seen or heard about that friend who broke a collar bone/arm/rib/leg on the first day of a trip? Common story. Don't be that person.
Be aware that you'll be a little rusty first time on the slippery slope. Those initial few runs are to find your board legs and test your equipment, so take the day to get yourself settled. Build up to the big stuff when you’re ready. But don't forget to learn something new.
A typical “post-boarding regret” we tend to forget is that we didn't push ourselves or tried that new trick. Push yourself, don’t break yourself. A month later when you look back that's what will stand out, just don't do it on day 1.
“Push yourself, don’t break yourself.”
These are a few things we’d forgotten about before our last holiday. Our tips should help you clear some aches and regrets out of the way early on, leaving you focused on what matters – shredding as much down the slopes as possible!
If you’ve got any additional tips, feel free to comment. Hope you have a good trip.
Check out our blog post on How To Take Your Snowboarding To The Next Level for more tips and tricks.
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If you’re keen to avoid the winter blues that left you feeling unfit and uninspired as you lethargically emerged into the bright Spring daylight, here are some ideas to help you make the most of this beautifully crisp season of fresh air, snow and stunning outdoor scenery.